O.C. Bargainista: Dinner and a show for your birthday

Freebie of the Week: The O.C. Bargainista will be using her free $30 Benihana birthday gift certificate Friday after submitting this column, and urges you to go to benihana.com and sign up for your own birthday gift. The certificate will arrive in your birthday month, is good for $30 worth of regular menu items, and is a lot better than the usual free milkshake offerings (it's also a lot less painless, if you're lactose intolerant like the Bargainista!). The closest Benihana is at 4250 Birch St., Newport Beach.

Malls are the place for discounts now

Stop by your local mall for post-Christmas discounts that are far steeper than in years past, as retailers cut down on inventory. For example, Charlotte Russe is selling the majority of their wares for $5, $10 and $15, and nearly all items at Claire's Accessories are 50% to 75% off.

What's one more pair of shoes?

Boo hoo — the J Stephens store at the Irvine Spectrum, 85 Fortune Drive No. 315, is closing Thursday. Snag big savings on comfort and luxury shoe brands like Born, Mephisto and Cole Haan while supplies last. Call (949) 585-0277.

Resolve to look good while working out

For those who have made resolutions to get fit — and have chosen mixed martial arts as the way to do it — a company is having a huge clearance sale on equipment like re-breakable boards, wrestling shoes, shin guards, gloves and more at 2720 S. Grand Ave., Santa Ana. Call (714) 585-7430.

Don't wait to be crafty — and cheap

If you already have your running shoes on and your car warmed up, the geek/craft store Galileo's in Tustin is closing Friday, with items starting at 50 cents. Enjoy crafting supplies like a polymer clay oven and yarn skeins, geek gadgets and random finds like a cardboard moose head. Call (714) 376-6939 or visit galileoshouse.com.

Deck out your desk

Also closing Friday: Alpha Office Products Printing and Copies, 2323 N. Tustin Ave., Santa Ana, which has printing and office supplies. Call (714) 835-2037.

Have a hot sale tip, or know about a great local business that you think deserves a little attention? Contact the O.C. Bargainista at candicebaker@gmail.com. And remember — never pay retail!

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